Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Open Access at Harvard

Today's New York Times is reporting that Harvard University's faculty will vote today on a measure that "would permit Harvard to distribute their scholarship online, instead of signing exclusive agreements with scholarly journals that often have tiny readerships and high subscription costs." Because of the prestige attached to Harvard, a positive vote would be a significant step forward for the open access movement. The plan calls for Harvard to "deposit finished papers"--not working drafts--into an "open-access repository run by the library." Authors would have to opt out of the program; in other words, all articles from the Arts and Sciences faculty would be included unless the authors specifically chose not to include them. Because authors would retain copyright, they could still publish their articles in journals if they chose to. The issue is, of course, if journals would be interested in articles that were already available for free from the repository. Here is a link to an article from today's Harvard Crimson written by Robert Darnton, director of the Harvard University Library.

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